People abuse substances through smoking, oral consumption (swallowing, eating with food and mixing with drinks), sniffing, and injection for many different reasons, but the detrimental effect on our society is obvious. Increasing crime rate, direct damage to health, high rate of school drop out, truancy, casualties in hospitals and emergency departments as well as prison inmate tallies are strong indicators of debilitating effects of substance abuse in the society.
Types of Substance Abuse
- Prescription Drug: This act involves taking dispensary drugs above the normal administered dosage. Such drug could be pain relievers or cough drugs with anesthetic or tranquillizing effects. Abusers take these drugs in order to relive those effects but overtime the body reaches tolerance and they would have to take larger doses to produce the same level of feeling.
- Illegal Drugs and Substances: These are dangerous substances that have been proscribed by law due to their high addictive properties with attendant negative effects. They include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine. Others are club drugs such as ecstasy, GHB, rohypnol, ketamine, LSD, PCP and the likes. Users may witness short-term intoxication, ecstasy, tranquility, energy, expanded consciousness and so on. But also, there are far-reaching consequences of impaired memory, paranoia, hallucination, amnesia, depression, suicide, heart attack, vital organ (heart, lung, brain, kidney) damage, violence, and sudden death among others.
- Socially Acceptable: Alcohol is regarded as socially acceptable substance in many climes and it is taken in varieties of ways in drinks, drugs and foods. People abuse alcohol because of its intoxicating effect. This has caused majority of accident and social maladies. But alcohol attacks the liver, brain, muscle control and leads to alcoholism. Another socially acceptable substance is tobacco which users take for some weird reasons, however, it is the major cause of lung cancer and other health issues which end in untimely death.
- Other Substances: Youths now turn to several unassuming substances like petrol, methylated spirit, gum, super glue, talcum powder, dung smoke, fumes, caffeine contents, stimulants, and so forth, as alternatives to high grade drugs. This produce relative negative effects in the long run.
Possible Warning Signs of Substance Abuse in Adolescents
Family members, friends and neighbors should be able to spot signs of substance abuse. Chances for successful treatment or rehabilitation are heightened by early detection. Some of the signs to watch out for include the following
- Child suddenly begins to lie and/or steal
- Leaves for an unknown location at a particular time
- Withdrawal or unnecessary privacy
- Giving up on values/belief/worthy activities
- Drop in grades
- Diminished attention span
- Secrecy and dodging questions
- Unwarranted usage of body spray, air freshener, or insecticide
- Company with strange friends
- Swing of mood, appetite, and/or sleep
- Looking unkempt as unusual.
Parental Role in Handling Substance Abuse
Increasing cases of substance abuse among secondary schools students has made it necessary for parents to pay closer attention to and be available for their children. You should be a friend of your child and even seek to be a friend of your child’s friends. Check on them in schools and in sections of church or mosque they attend to confirm their punctuality. In the event that you find out that your child has been abusing substance, the best way to respond is with calmness, and friendly manner, don’t freak-out, don’t agitate. Then work with your child to obtain professional help.
The Role of Schools in Handling Substance Abuse
Expulsion or rustication has over the year proven to be ineffective in curbing substance abuse among students. They would get worse, move into the society or other schools, then initiate more people. Schools in collaboration with the ministry of education and drug law enforcement agencies should seek to help and restore student drug abusers, not cast them out. Penitent students should be re-admitted into the school and allowed to continue their education.
How the Society Should Handle Substance Abuse
When substance abusers are stigmatized, they find home among their comrades. Consequently, they become hardened and wreak more havoc. Addicts don’t change because of societal stigma, they rather get worse. Therefore, there should be community efforts at helping them out and deploying lasting panacea to the causes for substance abuse among the people so as to prevent further occurrence.
Substance Abuse Treatment
It is important to note that medical treatment and solutions are available. Doctors can prescribe medications to reduce the crave for dangerous substances or refer one for behavioral treatment by professionals. This depends on the type and extent of drug being abused. In any case, this problem should be viewed as other illnesses that require proper diagnosis and prescription. The effective solution has always being, seek necessary help and commit to the process for the required transformation.
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